Friday, April 15, 2005

"Legislature to tackle LUS issue"

Kevin Blanchard of the Advocate has the story on the anti-LUS bill prefiled in the legislature by Sharon Weston Broome. Kevin catches something I had missed in my earlier post on this law: it would apparently require a second vote on the issue. The text of the proposed law reads (text that is struck through is eliminated; bold text is added to the law):
A local governing authority by a majority vote may shall call an election on whether or not the local government shall provide the proposed covered services, before engaging or offering to engage in providing such services.
It certainly looks like a second election would be required. Amazing.

The story also covers the history of the law, and details on the money and services that Cox would no longer have to supply should this ever make it into law. It's a good read.

On reading this story it occurs to me that the state might not actually have the power to affect the "public, educational, and governmental" (PEG) requirements of local franchise agreements, though the odd language about "suspending" the local obligations of cable companies offended by locals asserting their rights to build their own local infrastructure might be aimed at placating the feds as well as evading the laws forbidding abrogating contracts. The law establishing the FCC explicitly grants such rights to municipalities (see page 251) and over the years the Feds have taken almost all rights to regulate cable companies out of state hands and made them solely a federal issue. This is why the Louisiana Public Service Commission regulates the rates and services of BellSouth but not Cox. The state may simply not have the right to overrun federal law in this instance.

It's all very interesting. And you can be assured that the dirty tricks won't end here.

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